Monday, September 30, 2013

How to cope with low energy days

Dear Dr. Rob…
How do I deal with low-energy days, when I have a hard time getting things done?
From a participant at CEO Connect

Dear Low-Energy,
This is a great question, because it is something that happens to all of us at some time, yet is infrequently discussed or even admitted. We all have our good days and bad, and recognize that we cannot always function at our optimum best. Here are a few suggestions for coping with low energy days:

  • On those days, give yourself permission to take a break. If you can, take a brief meditation break, say a prayer, stretch, or take a walk.There's nothing worse than getting sleepy during a meeting and forcing yourself to stay awake. Better to take a restroom break and get refreshed than doze off during a meeting. Maybe thats why they call it “rest” room.
  • For short term re-energizing, try doing energizing yoga poses, such as downward facing dog, or a few push-ups. Exercising releases endorphins and naturally energizes your body.
  • Be sure you are eating a good breakfast and have light snacks on hand that help energize your body, such as fruits and nuts… and of course drink plenty of water.
  • Keep a “did list” of everything that you did today, rather than a “to-do list” of what you have to do.
  • If you're having too many low-energy days, you might ask yourself why. One of the most common reasons is not getting enough sleep. We believe we can get by on 6 or fewer hours, when in fact research shows that most people need 8.
  • I discussed this question with my friend, psychologist and author of Your Father, Your Self, Dr. Barry Gordon of Cleveland and here are some of the ideas he came up with: Barry said to remember that the measure of a professional is how well you perform on the days when you're not up to performing well
  • Barry also suggests focusing on small steps and getting one thing done at a time on days when you have low energy
  • Finally, if this is happening too much of the time, consider that you may be in the wrong job. If we lack passion for a job and we are not using our unique skills on the job, it is easy to feel low-energy and bored.

This is such a great question, I would love to hear your suggestions. Please email me or post them in the comments section. Also remember to send in your own questions for future columns.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Guest Advisor Cheryl Chodun: Tips for Interacting With the Media

This week, I get to be the one asking for advice. I have asked recently retired Channel 7 news reporter Cheryl Chodun, who will be the speaker at this weeks CEO Connect, to answer the question: What advice do you have for executives on how to relate to the media?

Cheryl shares the following tips:
  • Recognize that the media can be your friend. Seek to develop a positive relationship with reporters and news desk editors.
  • If you have positive news to announce, plan a press conference where you can invite representatives from several media sources, or send a press release to all the news outlets.
  • If you want to be an expert resource for news outlets to use, get to know a reporter or news editor to let them know about yourself and your area of expertise. Be sure to provide detailed contact information. Remember, they want to know and use you, as much as you want to receive the exposure.
  • When you are interviewed, even if it’s for a problem, always say something. Never look like you are trying to avoid or run away from an interview. You can always say “We are looking into it, and will get back to you when we know more.”
  • In a large organization, be sure to have a designated person to speak to the media. This person should be comfortable being interviewed and well informed on the topic.
  • Be clear about the difference between “off the record” and “on background.”
  • Don’t be afraid to end the interview with “I want to double check that we are 100% clear.” It’s ok to ask if the reporter has understood what you are trying to convey.

If you would like to hear Cheryl talk about these points (and more!) in person or ask her your own questions, please contact us and we would be happy to send you an invitation for CEO Connect (Friday September 27th 2013 at 7:00 am).

Please continue to send in your questions for Dr. Rob for future columns.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Giving Back: Choosing the Right Organization to Support

Most of us want to “give back”, to make a contribution to society through the giving of our own key resources which are time and money. However, given all the options available, it is not easy to figure out which organization to choose. This week, I will be leading a panel discussion at my CEO Connect event on Jim Collin’s book “Good to Great in the Social Sectors”. In his book, Jim Collins argues that business thinking is not the answer to achieving greatness in the social sectors.

According to Mr. Collins:
“For a social sector organization performance must be assessed relative to mission, not financial returns. In the social sectors, the critical question is not ‘How much money do we make per dollar of invested capital?’ but ‘How effectively do we deliver on our mission and make a distinctive impact, relative to our resources?’”

Based on these concepts, when you decide what organization to devote your energy to, ask yourself how well it is addressing these five issues:
Defining “Great”- Calibrating Success without Business Metrics
Level 5 Leadership- Getting Things Done within a Diffuse Power Structure
First Who- Getting the Right People on the Bus within Social Sector Constraints
The Hedgehog Concept- Rethinking the Economic Engine without a Profit Motive
Turning the Flywheel- Building Momentum by Building the Brand

I’d be interested in hearing how you have made decisions about giving back. Please share them with me in the comments below.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Dr. Rob's Leadership Tips from an Elephant Farm in Thailand

We will return to our discussion on Career Evaluating next week, but while in Thailand I have had an experience which translates well to being a leader.

Today I had the privilege to ride an elephant up and down a mountain in Thailand  in a rain storm. Before climbing on the elephant named Marie, we were taught these crucial lessons:

  1. If we expect to turn our lives over to the care of elephants, we must take exceptional care of them.
  2. First be kind to them, learn their names, and don't walk behind them.
  3. Be sure they are healthy physically and mentally
  4. Feed them well, especially when getting to know them.
  5. Keep them clean and well groomed.
  6. Give them plenty of praise and affection  
  7. Never punish them

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I tried these and am here to report these lessons worked well.I was close to the edge, survived and had a ball. I hope they are helpful to you.
What leadership lessons have you learned from your adventures?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Career Evaluation- Question 1

Last week I described a process I have developed to help my clients evaluate where they are in their career development and what decisions they need to make about the future. I talked about four key questions people should ask themselves when making career decisions. The first question is: Are you passionate about what you are doing in your current job? If not, what type of work would make you feel more passionate?

For several years I have worked with Roger Newton, who is CEO of Esperion Therapeutics. Roger clearly knows what his passion is: finding a cure for heart disease. His first efforts resulted in the development of Lipitor. Now, through Esperion, he is continuing his pursuit. This year, Esperion has completed a successful initial public offering (IPO) raising $74.9 million in net proceeds. Roger’s work is an example of what can be achieved if you continually follow your passion.

Here are a few ideas on how to understand your passion at work:
  1. What do you deeply care about? For example: What do you read about? Talk about? Think about?
  2. Notice what brings you the most joy in life. This is a key clue to understanding your passion.
  3. Ask yourself “When I have had a great day, what was I doing and what was I not doing?”
  4. Over your lifetime, what is the theme of activity that has always resulted in you being highly engaged?
  5. What topic most evokes a strong emotional reaction? Passion is about emotion.
  6. If you ask other people, what do they think you are passionate about? You might consider sending an email to people who know you well to ask them what they see you most passionate about.
  7. As a friend recently pointed out, the root of the word “passion” is “to suffer”. Ask yourself, what are you willing to “suffer” for in order to achieve a result? I always tell myself that anything worth achieving requires facing distinct difficulty, experiencing internal struggle, and facing risk.

Once we figure out what it is we are passionate about, we should take the time to make sure our career is in alignment with this passion. When we engage in work that is not fulfilling, or something we don't feel strongly about, it is easy to become complacent and stagnant.  Not only does this hinder our own personal growth, but the growth of your company as well.